With the growing inseparability of individual and computer, computer and business, personal computers and the Internet have certainly changed how we function and interact. No longer extensions of our personal and business lives, computers are now the focal point; the Internet the axis of entertainment, commerce and education.
As such, the storage of paper document, books, and other valuable files is no longer the primary issue. How to store the countless gigabytes of data—documents, photos, videos, and music—and do it efficiently is the new concern. And that means being able to keep data safe and secure yet always at your fingertips.
To meet this need, a growing number of companies now provide hosting services whereby off-site data storage facilities allow you to rent storage space where the contents of your computer's most valued information can be locked away so that should your computer fail or sustain a natural or even intentional catastrophe, your data is safe and sound.
A number of such services like ElephantDrive, Mozy, and Carbonite allow you to access your stored data at will and make it available to any computer of your choosing--as well as a growing number of mobile units including Blackberry and iPhone. And while an increasing number of computer users (especially online businesses) are opting for this type of pay service, others are taking advantage of online backup services that offer free 'cloud' backup. In fact, many of the same top-rated online backup services that offer paid services, offer free storage as well.
Here are five of the more widely-used free online backup options to consider:
Box provides 5 GB of free online backup storage space with their Personal Plan, which can be boosted to 50 GB by recruiting new Box members. Additionally, file-sharing links are permitted and mobile access provided via the Box 'app' (application). One interesting and handy feature is that music files can be streamed and office files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF) can be opened and edited right in the Box website--for no additional charge.
Like several other popular online backup providers, Mozy offers 2 GB of free online backup storage and the option to add more through paid services. Mozy caters to both PC and MAC clients, offering schedule backups and even file encryption. (This is one way to find out if you need to invest in a paid service.)
In addition to a range of paid online backup services, SugarSync also offers 2 GB of free space. Because of the dual compatibility between Windows PCs and Mac, you can use this cloud-based software to sync all your computers--regardless of where you are in the world. SugarSync is great for people who are in the habit of taking work home from their job. (SugarSync has offered special 30-day free trial upgrades in the past as well.)
ElephantDrive is another top-rated provider offering free space on their server. While ElephantDrive only offers 1 GB of free space, they point out that an industrious—and organized—individual could actually run their whole business with free online backup services by organizing everything into folders, and utilizing numerous free storage services if necessary.
ADrive offers a whopping 50 GB of free storage with their basic plan. You can use this service to store your music collection as well as any other type of files. You can upload single files or complete folders, and the service also provides a search tool to quickly locate your files. If you've got documents that you want to store online, then ADrive also comes with the Zoho Editor that makes it easy to edit them online instead of re-uploading.
If you need help deciding on which online backup service is right for you, just visit OnlineBackupTopTen.com for comprehensive online backup reviews, helpful videos, and a detailed online backup comparison chart.
This guest article written by Etsel Skelton
Etsel Skelton is an IT Consultant for RescuTechs, a computer repair company in the Los Angeles area.